Fredonia closes out with a win

BUFFALO — The Fredonia Hillbillies closed out the regular season with a 64-43 win over MST Prep in a non-league boys basketball contest at the Math Science Technology Preparatory School in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

“It was good for us. It was a tough battle early and exactly what we were looking for going into the playoffs,” said Fredonia coach Nick Bertrando.

Fredonia (16-4) broke a 14-14 tie after the first quarter with a 16-9 scoring advantage in the second period. Nick Whitfield had 17 points in the first half to lead all scorers at the break. He carried the momentum over into the third quarter with a pair of slam dunks to jolt the Fredonia offense.

The Hillbillies outscored MST 23-4 in the third quarter behind strong defense, which Bertrando has preached all season long.

“As I always say, it starts on the defensive end. The defense we played in the third quarter is what jump-started our offense,” said Bertrando.

Whitfield finished with a game-high 22 points, along with eight rebounds and a team-high six assists. Fredonia had 18 assists as a team. Tyler Putney had 17 points — 13 of which came in the second half — along with eight rebounds and three assists. Seniors Kaleb Rybij and Patrick Reading each had eight points.

Fredonia is now locked into the 3-seed in the Sectional playoffs and expects to host a quarterfinal playoff game a week from Saturday.

“We’ll be hosting a quarterfinal for the first time in quite a while, and now, we have a week and a half to get ready,” said Bertrando.